If you witness illegal discharges, dumping, or mining, following these guidelines will ensure the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) can act on evidence you provide. Make sure you follow proper procedures.
Rules of Evidence
TCEQ procedures pertain to the way you gather, collect, label, and document evidence. This link contains a great deal of information about the process, requirements, etc.
A brief summary follows:
- If you want TCEQ to use your information in an enforcement case, you cannot remain anonymous.
- You must complete a notarized affidavit. Your contact information will be confidential. But understand that you must be willing to testify in any formal enforcement hearing.
- You may not enter property of another person to document a violation. No trespass.
- Follow the Commission’s procedures and protocols outlined in the link above.
- If the Commission initiates an investigation, you must sign affidavits authenticating the information you provided.
- You must confirm that you followed TCEQ protocols and procedures.
- If the case proceeds to a formal hearing or trial, you will be required to testify. You must explain information you provided, and you may be cross-examined by the defendant’s attorney. This could include questions regarding your testimony and motives.
Given all the different types of complaints and evidence people submit, procedures can get quite complex. For instance, if you submit water samples, the TCEQ has specific requirements for testing and chain of custody.
For Photographic Evidence
Photos and videos have specific procedures. Make sure you include:
- Location (include site name, registration/permit/account/regulated entity number, if applicable)
- Name of Person Taking Photograph
- Investigation Number and Complaint Number (if applicable)
- Number Sequence (e.g., 1 of 5)
- Brief Description of the photograph (e.g., “Picture of discharge on north end of property;Photograph taken facing north.”)
If shooting film, also make sure you include negatives and prints.
How to Submit Evidence
It takes time and money to investigate cases. Following these guidelines ensures that that time and money will not be wasted.
You can contact TCEQ 24 hours every day about complaints. To submit a complaint under their jurisdiction :
Posted by Bob Rehak on 1/5/2019
495 Days after Hurricane Harvey